The 6 Best Vitamins and Supplements for Hair Growth
As women, we love our hair. Whether our hair is long or short, straight or curly, naturally thick or thin, it’s our crowning glory and we want to keep it healthy. While we normally associate hair loss with men, it’s an issue that affects women as well. A variety of factors may be involved, including genetics, hormones, nutritional deficiencies, and oxidative stress.
If you’re a woman and you’re beginning to experience hair loss, it can be quite unnerving and scary. If the reason behind the hair loss is due to intrinsic factors such as genetic or hormone issues, then supplements might not prove to be helpful. However, if the hair loss is down to extrinsic factors such as nutritional deficiencies and oxidative stress, then supplements may be able to do the trick.
In regards to your diet, you should be consuming a healthy balance of both protein and leafy greens. However, even when you eat well, you can still experience some minor nutrient gapping. That’s why it’s important to find the correct supplements to help fill the holes and promote overall well-being.
Here are six vitamin supplements that may help you maintain a healthy and thick head of hair:
Anyone who has looked at supplements specifically for hair has surely come across biotin. Also known as B7 or vitamin H, biotin helps the body break down protein1, which is an essential function for maintaining healthy hair and nails. While most people will get their biotin naturally from meat, this puts vegans and vegetarians at possible risk for biotin deficiency.
Most people associate protein with healthy muscle growth and development, but what many don’t know is that our hair is also made up of protein. If you don’t get enough protein from your diet alone, then incorporating a protein powder or supplement can help to support your body’s muscles, hair, and nails. Collagen is a great form of protein that supports the strength and elasticity of hair as well as smooth skin.
We already know that an excess of free radicals can damage hair2. This is why vitamin C can be so helpful, as it is a powerful antioxidant that helps limit oxidative stress. Our bodies also use vitamin C to produce collagen3, which is an important protein used in our hair’s structure. If you suffer from hair loss as a result of anemia, vitamin C has the added benefit of helping to support your body’s absorption of iron.
Recent studies4 have shown a connection between vitamin D deficiency and hair loss. Additionally, vitamin D deficiency affects an estimated 1 billion people worldwide5. Research has also shown that incorporating vitamin D into your life helps facilitate follicle growth, making it great for healthy hair. Sunlight is the greatest natural source of vitamin D, but most of us don't get enough this way. Taking regular vitamin D supplements can help your body and hair stay healthy.
Zinc is known for its immunity-supporting benefits as well as its positive impact on hair growth. Zinc deficiency can lead to hair loss7, so if you aren’t getting enough zinc in your diet, a supplement can help to change that.
Hair loss is a symptom of iron deficiency, particularly in women, who are also the most likely to be iron deficient. 6 Other symptoms include fatigue , weakness, and porr circulation causing cold hands and feet. Check with your doctor if you think you may have an iron deficiency; it may help you to take an iron supplement.
2. Oxidative Stress in Ageing of Hair, 2009 Jan-Jun; 1(1): 6–14
3. The Roles of Vitamin C in Skin Health, 2017 Aug; 9(8): 866
4. How I Treat Vitamin D Deficiency , 2010 Mar; 6(2): 97–101
5. Vitamin D: The “sunshine” vitamin, 2012 Apr-Jun; 3(2): 118–126
6. Diffuse hair loss in an adult female: approach to diagnosis and management., 2009 Jan-Feb;75(1):20-7
7. Zinc: an essential micronutrient., 2009 May 1;79(9):768-72